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eign intercourse laid down by Washington and Jefferson and Monroe—and but little reference to the historical progress of the Cuban question as shown in almost every volume of our national records. We work over again, in foreign relations as in financial affairs, things which might be supposed to have been settled by the experience of a century. We cheerfully send arms and suggest organization to the Cubans, without troubling ourselves to remember how little aid and comfort we have had from insurgent allies in Canada, in Tripoli, in California, in New Mexico and in Samoa.
Yet the Americans are one of the most conservative of all peoples, and our whole political system rests on a respect for precedent. Without knowing the details of the Spanish-American domination the nation has somehow a consciousness that it has grown to be intolerable. If there be a fault, it is not that of the makers of history, but of the historians, who have failed to set clearly before their countrymen the course of our diplomatic policy; and of historical teachers, who have not imbued their students or pupils with the sense of the sequence of historical events.
Three years ago, in the opening number of the AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, a writer discussed the attitude of democracy toward the spirit of historical inquiry. Later experience shows no reason for abandoning his conclusions: the great American democracy both makes and records history; and gains in accuracy of vision from decade to decade. At the beginning of the fourth volume of the REVIEW it may be worth while to enter on a humbler inquiry -to see how far public bodies, individuals and societies are performing their task of collecting, preserving and opening up historical materials; what is now doing by American historical scholars to put into systematic form the details of our national history; how far writers are striving to tell the consecutive story of our national life; and what unused opportunities there are for transmitting the knowledge of our memorable past and uplifting present. The field is broad, the material enormous, the workers many, organizations powerful and increasing. What is doing and what may
well be done for historical science in America?
Too little attention has so far been paid to the geographical and topographical side of American history; and a prime duty of Americans is the preservation and marking of our historical sites. In foreign cities not only are famous houses carefully preserved, such as Dürer's in Nuremberg and the Plantins' in Antwerp, but memorial tablets everywhere abound. In America some of the stateliest and most memorable buildings have been
sacrificed, like the Hancock mansion in Boston; but at present the tendency is to preserve really handsome public and private edifices; and good people everywhere give money and time to keep these causes of civic pride before the eyes of their countrymen. The great incitement to this virtuous work was doubtless the purchase of Mount Vernon by the Ladies' Association, in the fifties, for which purpose Edward Everett coined his silver voice into golden eagles. Among hundreds of instances may be mentioned the restoration of the old Philadelphia city buildings, including Independence Hall; the keeping up the old church at Williamsburg, Va.; the establishment of the Rufus Putnam house at Rutland as a place of pilgrimage; and the repair of Californian convent buildings. Many private owners acknowledge that the historical houses which they inhabit are subject to a kind of public use, like Madison's seat at Montpellier; and some even busy themselves in working out the history of their habitation, and of the famous people who have entered its portals, as has been done by the present owner and occupant of the Craigie House in Cambridge.
By this time the principles which ought to govern the use of an historic building are widely recognized: it should be restored so far as possible to its condition at the time of its greatest historical importance-Carpenter's Hall as it was when the Continental Congress occupied it, and Monticello as Jefferson knew it. It should be called to the attention of the wayfarer by a suitable, permanent tablet of stone or brass; if possible, it should be kept up as a public monument or at least freely opened to public view. It must be admitted that, though most of the buildings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which are still preserved have a dignity and beauty which makes them worth keeping as works of art, the nineteenth-century cradles of civil government in the West are not inspiring pieces of architecture, even in the few cases where they have not long ago been replaced. We do not realize that our ancestors went through the same process as ourselves, that they also had to build and rebuild, before they left the comely courthouses and quaint churches and stately dwellings which we now admire.
Even if the building be worthless or destroyed, the site may fitly be commemorated by a permanent inscription. We moderns are so overwhelmed with reading matter that we do not fully understand the effect of inscriptions which stand in public view-the literature of the bookless; yet the noble sentences on the new Congressional Library will be read longer and will have greater influence than any contribution to the AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW. There is a
citizen of Massachusetts who takes special delight in leading his English visitors to a stone in Arlington which reads:
Near this spot
Then 80 years old
Killed three British soldiers
April 19, 1775
He was shot, bayoneted
However repellent to the British may be the toughness of ablebodied Samuel, the inscription does bring home strongly the force and passion of that April day when, as Sir Edward Thornton pithily stated it, "Englishmen now know that you were fighting our battles." The route from Boston to Concord is designated all the way by memorial stones; and there are many historical marches of the Revolution and the Civil War which deserve like attention.
Tablets upon public buildings or within them are too little regarded in this country, though senseless decorations are not uncommon. For instance, the state house of Connecticut, one of the few beautiful and individual capitols, which might well bear tribute to the founders of the first written constitution of an American commonwealth, is embellished with "a charm" of two thousand tarnished buttons. Compare with this barbaric gewgaw the arms of the podestas which hang on the walls of the court of one of the public palaces at Florence. At the University of Padua the spacious ."aula," the stone stairways, and the courts, are adorned with hundreds of coats of arms of noble students; compare this historical monument with the bare walls of the buildings of an ancient seat of learning in Massachusetts, the authorities of which refused to permit a list of distinguished occupants of an eighteenth-century dormitory to be placed upon its walls, because it made distinctions. In the effort to preserve sets of portraits of governors of states and mayors of cities the public recognizes the desire to keep men once honored in the minds of other men. Shall our elder worthies plead in vain before a matter-of-fact generation, "Lord, keep my memory green"?
The time to mark the sites of buildings and the scenes of notable events, the time to note the houses and the rooms once occupied by famous men, is the present, while they can be identified. Many are already lost or disappearing. Who knows where Governor Berkeley roared with official fury? Who marks the college rooms of James Madison, of John Adams or Daniel Web
A line of white stones in the pavement of the Place de la Republique preserves the outlines of the Bastile; but who stops in his passage through Cincinnati streets to guess the site of Fort Washington? Most of the important battle-fields of the Civil War have been well marked, in the life-time of men who participated; but who has visited or could trace Pigwacket or Camden or Tippecanoe or Resaca de la Palma ?
Another service to history and to patriotism would be to catalogue in each state and city the memorable historical sites, with such brief notes as may reveal their significance to the hasty searcher. There are guide-books to Plymouth, possibly to Providence, New Haven or Charleston; but how shall a visitor know the many historical treasures in the out-of-the-way towns of New Hampshire or South Carolina or Kentucky? To record and to catalogue is a necessary task, congenial to the much-abused antiquary, without whom our forefathers would be to us only myths.
Some time a pathway will be blazed for the pilgrim to his country's monuments all the way from Acadia to California; meanwhile something may be done to make the closet historian (if there be any such in this age of realities) acquainted with the appearance of the scenes he describes. The lantern-slide has become an agent of civilization: we ascend the Pyramids on its convenient ray; we traverse Arctic solitudes; we see voiceless guns belching shells at an enemy-may we not also let the lantern be our guide to far-away buildings and battle-fields? Might not those "other people who have nothing to do" get together collections of slides, illustrating their own neighborhood or state? And might not such slides be catalogued and sold in sets, or borrowed and lent, and thus made a part of historical instruction?
Who is to do this work of identification, of marking sites, of providing the necessary monuments, of preparing photographs and slides? In many places the state or local government will take up the task if properly inspired; and indeed most municipalities are pleased to find that they have spots worth marking. In other cases the work must be done by private societies, whose sole function shall be historical; for though Sons and Daughters of Historical Periods have their usefulness, they do not often promote exact historical work. Among special societies formed to rescue historical sites the first is the admirable Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, which is now doing the work of examining, listing and preserving the memorials of its ancient commonwealth. One of its services is to bring people who have money and good will, but no especial knowledge of the treasures in their neighbor
hood, into relation with things that need to be done, with such results as the embanking of the remnants of Jamestown Island. Another typical organization is the Harvard Memorial Society, which exists only to search out and mark sites memorable in the history of that university.
Of "monuments" in the narrower sense the country has too many and too few: too many of the type of that marvel of useless stone-cutting, the Soldiers' Monument in Cleveland, forced upon an unwilling city by an artless state legislature; too few like the Shaw Monument in Boston, a really individual and inspiring work of art, which could be set up only for the one man whom it commemorates, and yet through him speaks of the heroism of armies, and raises the moral standard of every man who sees it. Let towns and cities remember Hawthorne's injunction: "The man who needs a monument should never have one."
For the historian the buildings of our ancestors are a lesson and an illustration, but he cares especially for official records of events. The thirteen colonial legislatures, the active town-meetings in New England and the county courts in the South, have furnished a large number of separate records; but, notwithstanding local pride and the pressure of genealogy-hunters, we have nothing approaching complete printed records of a single colony. Many states have worked at the task for years, notably Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and North Carolina, but the results in most cases are confused or fragmentary. For instance the Massachusetts "resolves" of the provincial period have not been all collected, because the editor could not bring himself to publish simply the texts, but insisted on sending them out to the world embellished with valuable notes. The legislature lost patience after twenty-eight years of publication, which had included only eighty-nine years of statutes and sixteen of resolves, and suspended the whole enterprise. No better field for enlightened lobbying could be found than in persuading legislatures to print their own colonial or early state records, as simply and as expeditiously as is possible, while making accurate transcripts; posterity may be relied upon to furnish the scholia.
Local records have been notoriously neglected, and on the whole very few have been printed in full. Boston, Providence, Worcester, Southampton (Long Island) and now New Amsterdam have published the fullest sets. Here again is a field for the friend of history, and the lover of quaint literary extracts. For instance, when you read of the town of Lee that in 1779 its discontented